Friday, May 22, 2020

Sit Down and Wait.

Of course we don't know for sure how disciples coped in this period of 50 days after Easter.  They had witnessed the world shaking event of the Resurrection. Emotions are shaken to the core. After the scary first encounters - the raw fear of Luke 24: 37 - there is so much they have to come to terms with. Their world is changing though they don't yet know the half.

It seems critical that twice Jesus tells them that they must wait. Luke 24: 49 Stay in the city literally means SIT DOWN.  In Acts 1.4 Jesus commands: Do not depart from Jerusalem but wait. Yes, Jesus is promising that the Father is sending a gift which they will miss if they leave the city.  But they also need a long waiting period.  Why? Because they have much growing up to do.  Their experience and understanding of Jesus needs deepening.  It's not some instant subjective experience that solves everything.  It's not as though they suddenly know how to live in the new normal as Easter people. What did it mean now to live in the Kingdom of God? (Acts 1:3)

Waiting gives time to grow deeper. Christian discipleship requires times of sitting down. It was the Quaker, John Southall who said: 'We cannot go through life strong and fresh on constant express trains; but we must have quiet hours, secret places of the Most High, times of waiting upon the Lord when we renew our strength and learn to mount up with wings and eagles.'

In our current time of enforced waiting  and wondering when the timetable might be relaxed for the lock down there may be a lesson here. Express trains are out for most of us! But if it is true that Christian discipleship is a matter of continuing to sit down with the Lord so that he can deal with us in the quiet, well, this is quite an opportunity.

John White in Flirting with the World  really let's rip: 'Jesus weeps over sheep fed on lollipops...,  Jesus weeps over poor deceived people who are falsely taught by enthusiastic preachers that an instant,subjective experience at a special conference will solve all their problems and give them zippy, automatic Christian joy for the rest of their lives. That's garbage'.  No, lollipops won't do. Sit down, Michael!

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